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Entries with Blog Label HR Management .

August 28, 2014

HR Question: Terminating Employees for Past Mistakes

Q: Can an employer terminate an employee for making a costly error years ago that has just been discovered?

A: This answer is based upon the fact that there is no specific employment contract in place that outlines specific reasons for termination of employment and that the employer has an employment-at-will policy in place that provides for termination at will based upon the employer's discretion.

From the detailed description of the situation, this employer does have an internal disciplinary procedure in place that specifies termination of employment for performance. This error was made years ago and could have been detected if the employee had been conducting annual audits of the file, which was not done, compounding the error.

Although employers can terminate employment "at will", there should always be a legitimate business reason for the termination that is well documented, nondiscriminatory and carefully considered in order to reduce the employer risk of liability from wrongful termination suits.

The employer should consider the following prior to making the final decision:
 
  • Is this employee in a protected class (race, gender, age, disability) where s/he might believe that s/he is being targeted because of that class?
  • Was the process for auditing and correcting the errors documented and was this employee trained to conduct the audit?
  • Is this a one-off issue with the employee or have there been other instances of performance concerns? If so, have those concerns been brought to the employee's attention and was s/he given the opportunity to correct the performance deficiencies?
  • Is there anything that the employee's manager or senior management missed that could have prevented this situation?
  • Has this situation ever happened before with another employee? If so, how was it handled?
  • If an audit of other customer files took place today, could there be this same type of error made by other employees (pointing to an overall training or supervision issue)?


If the employer believes that the situation warrants termination of employment because it is well-documented, the employee has been properly trained, the supervision was adequate, and that this is a unique situation, then a termination is allowed, but we recommend confirming the decision with legal counsel prior to the termination.

Question and Answer provided by ThinkHR. Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to their expert HR staff here.
August 26, 2014

Think You’re Ready to Hire More Employees? Read This First.

Your organization has been doing really well lately, and you’re looking to create new positions and hire new employees to help fulfill your mission. You’ve written the job descriptions, gotten approval from all of the relevant stakeholders and are ready to begin recruitment.

But slow down just a minute. Are you sure your organization is ready to hire more employees?

Although only your organization can determine if you’re actually ready to hire new employees, Inc. recommends answering the following questions about your organization, where you want it to go, and what is happening now.

What kind of organizational structure do you want?

Do you want your organization to grow extensively? Are you pretty happy with the size it is now, but unable to meet the demands of your mission with your current staff, or are you hoping to grow organically whenever the need arises?

Will you be able to slow down growth if you need to?

Not all organizations have significant control over how much growth they will experience in any given time. For instance, if your organization helps provide disaster relief to a specific area and the area suddenly experiences a large-scale disaster, your response must be immediate and decisive. Or, if your organization helps animals and takes part in a multi-county animal seizure, you must be able to provide shelter and care for all of the animals involved for the foreseeable future.

But if your organization works to help a select group of impoverished students succeed, it’s reasonable to expect that there will not be an unmanageable influx of students to your program in any given year.

Do you really need help?

Do any of your employees have extra time throughout their week or month that can be used to address some of the needs that you’d like to hire new employees for? If so, can these employees be trained to perform some of the needed tasks?

While it might not fully address your needs, it would cut down on organizational waste and potentially allow for a part-time position to be created in lieu of the more expensive full-time position.

Are you fully prepared to recruit, hire, and train more employees?

Our ThinkHR resources and your UST Customer Service Representative can help you ensure your organization is best positioned to do all three without exposing you to excess liability in the future.

Not yet a member? Learn more about the UST program here.
August 20, 2014

Is Your Nonprofit Falling Prey to These 5 Common Myths?

The Unemployment Services Trust recently released its newest whitepaper, “The 5 Myths That Are Increasing Your Nonprofit’s HR Costs” – which explains how to identify and debunk these costly myths at your organization.

For a limited time, you can download the whitepaper for free and find out:
 
  1. Which myths might be hurting your organization
  2. How you can proactively reduce HR costs
  3. Whether you are overpaying for unemployment claims


Learn the secrets of other nonprofit executives and HR staff who have reduced their human resource and unemployment claims costs. Download your complimentary copy of 5 Myths That Are Increasing Your Nonprofit’s HR Costs today.

By providing exclusive access to such cost saving resources, UST aims to educate 501(c)(3) organizations on the latest HR best practices and compliance laws—living up to its mission of “Saving money for nonprofits in order to advance their missions.”

Fill out a complimentary Savings Evaluation to find out if you can save with UST.
July 03, 2014

How HR Departments Impact the Nonprofit Sector

For most nonprofits, sticking to a smaller budget makes it harder to allocate the necessary time and resources needed to maintain an effective HR department. Responsible for salaries, training, recruitment and paperwork, your HR staff greatly influences your organization’s potential growth.

 

XpertHR and Nonprofit HR conducted a 2014 survey of Senior HR professionals to reveal the way nonprofit HR departments are constructed and held accountable. Representing 260 organizations throughout the US and Canada, the results showcase the importance of measuring and documenting an HR department’s effectiveness.

According to the survey, just over 1/3 of organizations reported documenting an official HR strategy. And with nearly 40% of HR professionals failing to measure their department’s effectiveness, many nonprofits have trouble building upon their HR best practices.

In addition to sustaining an effective HR department, nonprofits are also burdened by a limited HR budget. Taking the cost of HR salaries, recruitment, and administration into account, the median cost of running an HR department is reported at $91,715.

In order to alleviate financial HR costs, UST offers its members exclusive access to ThinkHR, a value added service that provides HR professionals with expert advice and support tools. This service includes a live HR Hotline, an online HR library, and over 200 employee training courses. Learning how to outsource and prioritize your organization’s HR needs can save you money—money that can be put towards mission advancement and further HR staff development.

Learn more about how your nonprofit can gain access to ThinkHR’s expert HR staff here.
June 09, 2014

Seeing Voluntary Turnover as an Opportunity for Improvement

Last year 48 million Americans across all sectors left their jobs.

For large organizations, or organizations that expect high turnover year-over-year, that number may not be particularly compelling. But for organizations in which high turnover is a sign of a bigger problem, this kind of turnover needs to be looked at as an opportunity for improvement.

Looking more closely at the reasons for separation, nearly 60% of all turnover last year was voluntary. And—including both voluntary and involuntary separation data—about 40% of separations happened when the employee had been in the position less than 6 months.

The cost of turnover can be monumental.

Even for employees that have only recently joined the organization, the cost of replacing them can be mind boggling.

Consider this: the average cost of turnover is typically reported between 15 and 21% of the employee’s salary. But the ‘actual cost’ consists of the time and resources that are spent recruiting and hiring a replacement, greater demands on other employees to pick up the slack (which could lead to burn out and more employee openings), the need to train and develop the new employee, and potentially lost revenue and opportunities.

To stay competitive and to reduce the amount of voluntary turnover as efficiently and effectively as possible, it’s time for employers to dust off their research skills and learn more about what factors are encouraging employees to leave your organization.

Conduct exit interviews, and find out why employees are leaving your organization. Dig deep into the reasons that employees are leaving—is there a toxic employee rotting the rest of their department? Is the amount of work incongruent with the amount of pay? Are poor benefits or strict working hours causing employees to look elsewhere?

Once definitive information has been collected and examined, take the time to address it throughout the organization. Make changes where necessary. And if changes can’t occur, for instance if better benefits are too hard to provide, look for opportunities to become more flexible with employees.

The savings will quickly add up.

Read more about how to see voluntary turnover as an opportunity here.
April 03, 2014

Recruiting the Right Employee: Conclusion

Presently, 10.7 million people are employed by the nonprofit sector. With job functions ranging from healthcare administration to membership development to content creation, the nonprofit sector encompasses every job skill and employment level available. Falling behind only the retail and construction fields in terms of sheer manpower, nonprofits face very different challenges when it comes to recruitment.

Hobbled by limited budgets for recruitment, historically lower pay scales, and fewer opportunities for internal advancement (the largest majority of mid-level employees come from other nonprofit organizations), nonprofits have a lot working against them when it comes time to hire. So what is a nonprofit to do when they need to source appropriate applications and hire the best candidates to advance their mission?

Let’s start by ensuring job postings are in the right place and reaching the most relevant candidates.

Rather than relying solely on word-of-mouth advertising through the nonprofit community, or on your informal network of connections, become active in sourcing candidates from the very field you want to hire for. You never know which job seekers are looking for the opportunity to leave the corporate structure in favor of an organization whose mission they are passionate about.
April 02, 2014

Recruiting the Right Employee: Part 3- Posting and Screening for Specialized Positions

Does your nonprofit rely most heavily on informal recruitment networks to fill open positions? If you said yes, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 88% of nonprofits surveyed are satisfied with using the informal recruitment networks of their friends and colleagues.

The same survey found that a whopping 85% of nonprofits don’t have a formal annual recruitment budget. Of the 15% of organizations that do have a formal recruitment budget, the media budget allotment was only $8,500 a year.

Maybe that explains why so many organizations rely on informal recruitment networks. But with only $8,500 to spare at most, where do organizations turn when they need to fill a position they can’t locally source from their pre-established informal recruitment networks? Even more difficulty emerges when the position a nonprofit is looking to hire for is highly specialized or needs a very select set of background and educational or certification experiences to support it.

A quick Google search of the term “specialty job listing site” returns more than 2.4 million results. For organizations looking to hire someone with highly technical training, there is the job site “37signals.” For those looking to hire someone with an accounting or other financial background, there is the site “Financial Job Bank.” And for nonprofits looking to hire skill sets most often found within the nonprofit sector, there are ASAE: CareerHQ and Opportunity Knocks.*

Other well-recognized specialized job boards include:
 
  • Bridgespan Group
  • State Associations, such as many of our recognized Affinity Partners (view the full list here)
  • Industry & Skill Specific Associations, such as Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA)
  • MediaBistro
  • HealthJobs USA
  • College Recruiter
Another good way to look for potential applicants with specialized skills or certifications is by sourcing from your volunteer bank. (Hey, sometimes it’s best to rely on word of mouth!) If you are looking for someone knowledgeable in an area that you already have one or more volunteers in, consider asking them directly if they would be interested in submitting an application.

Similarly, your organization shouldn’t only be positing these specialized positions on specialized job boards. Consider posting on some of these sites as well. Even if you don’t directly reach the perfect candidate through general boards such as Craigslist or Indeed, many active job seekers know passive jobs seekers who they are willing to forward relevant positions to.

*Opportunity Knocks is a national online job board, HR resource, and career development destination managed by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, one of UST’s 80+ Affinity Partners.
March 27, 2014

Recruiting the Right Employee: Part 2- Posting and Screening for General Positions

For employers trying to find candidates to fill general skills positions the battle to wade through the tide of resumes is daunting. Sometimes it feels as if there are 500 “good” candidates for every one open position.

This is where the importance of having a well-written and well-defined job description (and by extension, job posting) comes in handy.* Including required experience, education, and other basic skill requirements allows potential candidates to self-screen before putting together a cover letter and resume package for your organization. In fact, even the simple act of requiring a cover letter (and throwing out all resumes submitted without one) can help your organization pre-screen employees based on their communication skills.

The same with including a salary range—a lot of companies don’t do this for a multitude of reasons, but applicants know what they need their base rate of pay to be. You don’t want to find the perfect candidate to only learn that you can’t afford to hire them after going through the entire recruitment process, do you?

After you’ve put together the full job description and have ensured that it will help potential candidates and the hiring committee quickly screen for the least likely candidates, it’s time to post. But where do you post the job description?

The easiest place to start is general job search sites, a short list of which you’ll see below.
 
  • Idealist
  • Monster
  • ASAE:CareerHQ
  • Craigslist
  • Indeed
  • CareerBuilder
  • LinkedIn’s Nonprofit Job Board


Other places you should consider posting the job would be with your local community centers, churches, community colleges and universities, and libraries.

Have more suggestions? Share on our social media channels!

The next segment of this series will discuss finding candidates with refined or specific qualifications. Since many nonprofits often rely heavily on informal networks for hiring & finding new talent, these are sometimes the most difficult jobs to fill.
 
*UST’s offering ThinkHR can help UST members build strong well-written job descriptions and evaluate pre-existing job descriptions against similar, if not exact, jobs. Learn more here.
March 26, 2014

Recruiting the Right Employee by Posting Jobs in the Right Place: Intro

It sounds easy when you first start looking for a new employee: Post job “A” and after a careful selection process, hire the best person for the position.

But what if the best person doesn’t submit an application? How can you reach the right job seekers with the right job postings? Well, there’s a song about how the best place to start is at the very beginning, so it’s important that you make sure you are posting job descriptions on the most appropriate sites.

There are so many different job boards though!

It’s a mixed blessing that you’re right. Even as the economy has improved and the unemployment rate has fallen (with the exception of February 2014), the area of source identification has remained murky when it comes time to recruit new candidates. For some positions, industry specific job boards provide the most active access to the ‘right’ candidates on a national, or even international, scale. But for highly localized job postings, where do you turn?

And where should your organization seek general skill jobs such as Admin Assistants or Receptionists?

Our newest series focuses on finding the best ways to identify candidate pools that are a good fit for your general positions, and finding candidates with more refined, specific qualifications.
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